A game-changing $10 million gift to the Florida State University College of Business will establish the Dr. Persis E. Rockwood School of Marketing in honor of the late trailblazing FSU professor emerita and will provide transformational support to marketing students and faculty members in the nationally ranked program.
The Florida State University Board of Trustees approved the naming of the school during its June 22 meeting. College officials believe it to be the first U.S. school of marketing named for a woman, and they say the gift will help bolster the marketing program’s rise in national rankings. One of six nationally recognized programs in the college, FSU’s undergraduate marketing program ranks No. 17 among public schools by U.S. News and World Report.
The gift from Rockwood, who died in May 2021 at age 97, and her surviving husband, FSU Professor Emeritus Charles Rockwood, continues a legacy of major donations from the couple to the college and university.
Their latest gift also will establish—among numerous initiatives and priorities—the Dr. Persis E. and Dr. Charles E. Rockwood Eminent Scholar Chair in Marketing. “This is a historic moment in the life of the university, the college and more specifically the Department of Marketing,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business. “The transformational nature of this gift cannot be overstated, as it will have a life-changing impact on our faculty and students, as well as our college.”
In total, the gift provides:
- A $3.5 million endowment for faculty support, including funding for the eminent scholar chair, professorships, emerging scholars and research
- A $3 million endowment for student support in the form of scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students and funding for student professional development
- A $2.5 million endowment for “preeminence,” providing discretionary funding for the Rockwood School’s most pressing needs
- $1 million for Legacy Hall, the college’s state-of-the-art future home, specifically to fund the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic Programs Suite and the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic and Behavioral Research Lab
The Rockwoods—significant supporters of Tallahassee’s arts community—also have provided major gifts to the College of Music and the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, including a $2.2 million donation for a custom-built pipe organ at FSU’s College of Music.
“This momentous gift will forever stand as a testament to the work, impact and memory of the late Persis Rockwood,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “She and Charlie will always have a special place in the Florida State family, and their generosity will help blaze new trails and opportunities in marketing research and education.”
Mike Brady, the longtime chair of the marketing department, who also serves as the Bob Sasser Professor of Marketing, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the generosity and support that Persis and Charlie bestowed upon us. I told our faculty this is a game-changing gift, and our job moving forward is to change the game.”